First of all, a very enthusiastic HELLO to all of you wonderful folks at this website! I have been dealing with a water chemistry nightmare and finally after finding this website have decided to take control over my fears and frustrations and try my best to learn as much about maintaining my pool - MYSELF (with TFP as my co-pilot). I will try to be as brief as possible, but give the highlights (or more truthfully lowlights).
I had a concrete SWG pool at my previous home (for about 7 years) complete with a pool management company that kept things in tip top shape. We moved to the coast of NC about a year ago and had a fiberglass pool installed. The construction was finished late in the swimming season and we had an issue with our sense and dispense system malfunctioning and dumping who knows how many gallons of muriatic acid into the pool. The pool contractor "handled this" - mostly by emptying and refilling the pool. We swam exactly once before having the pool closed in the fall. Mind you - we made an informed decision to have the pool installed late, knowing that we weren't going to get much if any use last year- this was due to building logistics, etc. Pool contractor maintained pool thru closing time.
This spring the pool was opened and maintained by the pool contractor with me starting to "learn the ropes myself". The sense and dispense malfunctioned several more times, sending the PH down to 4.6. The first time the pool contractor "took care" of it. We had left the acid reservoir nearly empty for fear of another dump. After several weeks of monitoring PH with strips (to sanity check the PH indicator on the Sense and dispense), pool contractor convinced us to trust the equipment and add muriatic to the reservoir. My husband added 1 gallon to the reservoir and a few days later.....dump....ph was back below 5. I had been reading through information in this website during the last "issue". I decided to use borax to raise the PH. Using the pool calculator and guessing based on test strips, we got the PH back up.
I just ordered the TF100 along with Borates test strip and salt test strips. Package arrived yesterday and we tested water earlier today with the following results:
FC 3.5, CC .5, PH 8.0, TA 30, CH 375, CYA 0, borates 30, salt 5400
As for the salt - the pool contractor checked it week before last and added salt. All the readings just listed were obtained from the new test kit. Since I'm new to this, I do have a few questions about my assumptions on a couple of the tests, namely in the CH whether pink is the same as red?? husband seems to think so - but I will poke around and see if I can find some clarification, but to the best of my ability following directions, these are the correct numbers for today.
I also have no confidence in my pool's volume. Pool contractor said between 11,000 and 12,000 gallons. I read on these forums that someone with my same pool reported 8500 gallons. I have no way of measuring since my pool was filled by our well, and I have an irregular shape and have forgotten all college calculus! I do tend to believe that the 11,000 is too high, as I followed the pool calculator when figuring borax and added way less than was suggested and that seemed to do the trick initially with the PH.
How should I proceed, ie what to tackle first? By the way, I locally only have access to Walmart, Lowe's and some local hardware stores for chemicals, etc. No pool supply place nearby. Of course I can order items online but would much prefer to head to Wally or Lowes for pool supply runs. I can also say that the sense and dispense will be removed and returned. In theory it sounds good, but after our experiences, I don't trust its operations or its readings.
I am very happy that I finally just did what I should've done years ago....start learning this stuff myself! I read an old forum post on this website that said something along the lines of "any dim-witted monkey can learn to maintain a pool - it's that easy"..... Well, my husband would insert a joke about me insulting the poor monkey....
Thank you again to the brilliant folks who started this website and developed the pool calculator and all of you wonderful, patient, knowledgeable folks who maintain this forum and help those monkeys like me who have tried to run and bury their heads in the sand when it comes to pool maintenance. I really do hope to become an expert of my own pool!